Friday, February 3, 2017

MassBudget: Analyzing the Governor's budget proposal

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 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

Analyzing the Governor's Budget

The budget proposed last week by the Governor for the fiscal year beginning in July includes proposals that strengthen the capacity of the state's MassHealth program to meet the healthcare needs of people in Massachusetts and address fiscal challenges caused by a decline in private-sector employees receiving health insurance from their employers. This decline has led to increasing enrollment in MassHealth and thus growing state costs. 

MassBudget's new BudgetMonitor parses the details of Gov. Baker's various spending and revenue initiatives, including a $2,000 per-employee assessment on employers who don't meet certain benchmarks for providing health coverageWhile the budget contains several other revenue and savings proposals, the health care strategies are the major reasons the Governor is able to propose a budget that significantly reduces reliance on temporary revenue and savings to achieve balance.
The Governor's budget proposal includes expanded supports for behavioral health and substance misuse, including allowing treatment of civilly-committed men at facilities other than MCI-Bridgewater, increased support for mental health services in the corrections system, and across-departmental initiatives to combat harms caused by opioid misuse. The Governor also proposes to increase significantly funding for services for young people with developmental disabilities in the year they turn 22 and lose eligibility for school-funded services. The proposal again includes an initiative that the Governor brought forward last year that would reduce benefits for certain low-income families receiving Transitional Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) by changing the way disability insurance benefits are counted in the formula for determining TAFDC payments.

In addition, the Governor's budget proposes several modest reforms to update our tax system, including: taxing some short-term room rentals; requiring additional online retailers to collect sales taxes; and having credit card companies remit sales taxes to the Commonwealth more quickly.

As with past budget proposals, the Governor's FY 2018 budget does not propose significant new funding to make progress on some of the big challenges our Commonwealth faces, such as expanding early education; making higher education more affordable; improving schools in all of our communities; or fixing our transportation infrastructure.

Check out the Budget Monitor examination of the Governor's proposals for major state programs in greater detail. Links from the Table of Contents allow readers to jump quickly to specific sections. Each section also provides links to our on-line budget tools including our Budget Browser (which provides funding information for every account in the state budget going back to FY 2001) and, where applicable, to our Children's Budget and Jobs and Workforce Budget.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.


BOSTON, MA 02108
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Gov Baker's budget proposal press release

and the direct link to the Governor's budget

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